With a flick of the switch, air-dancers soar 17 feet into the air, pulsating to the sound of the dynamic music filling the park. A drone takes off, rising into the sky, zipping to and fro over heads now cocked upwards. Curiosity takes over and everyone asks, “What’s going on?”
We smile and reply, “This is the Beyond the Clouds Event for kids. Why don’t you join in!”
Children register, receiving a colored T-shirt for their team. In minutes, the four large rainbow parachutes unfurl. Children gather around their parachute which is soon spinning and waving in the air, transforming the park into a spectacle of color and motion. When the parachutes stop spinning, four teams of 60 to 80 children are assembled. Many a parent joins in to help. Older people take a seat on benches to watch.
The competition begins. Each team is challenged to form a 4-letter word with their bodies. Once they are in place, the drone flies overhead, snapping their picture. Next, teams select one of their members who they believe can “escape the drone.” On the count of 3, the child takes off running with the drone in hot pursuit. Everyone erupts in uproarious laughter.
After the drone games and a few other fun activities, the teams are called over to the flat screen monitors that form a video wall. Here, they are introduced to the theme, “Beyond the Clouds.” Short dynamic videos explore man’s love for flight and desire to escape the limits of gravity. Everyone wants to fly. That desire says something of what is inside everyone’s soul.
The MC then introduces a video which tells us how we can go beyond the clouds. Each team is challenged to identify the 4 big ideas that enable someone to go beyond the clouds. In the following minutes, children listen attentively to a dynamic gospel presentation in animated format. Each major point is easy to identify.
The MC then asks each team. “Who can repeat the big ideas of what enables a person to soar beyond the clouds?” Child after child raises their hand and repeats into the microphone the big ideas: 1) God Created Everything 2) Man introduced a Problem 3) Jesus is the solution 4) Through faith we can soar beyond the clouds.
As the children enthusiastically repeat these truths, parents and on-lookers listen. The essence of the gospel is repeated over and over by the children wearing the colorful T-shirts.
As a final part of our “big screen” presentation, the pictures taken by the drone appear on the screen. The children squeal with laughter seeing themselves. The MC tells the children and parents that because they have registered, they will be able to receive a picture of their team in the next week. They can expect to receive SMS messages within the day to coordinate how the pictures will be delivered.
We then invite the children back into the activity area for more games.
For two hours 80 kids, a pack of parents and a host of on-lookers take part in a dynamic, fun community experience that centers on the gospel. There is Good News which has the power to take each and every person beyond the clouds.
Obviously, the most important part of the strategy takes place in the following days as the volunteers, with picture in hand, go to the homes of the children to interact with them and their parents. These trained volunteers share their testimony and hear what the children think about Jesus being the solution to our problem.
Over the summer “Beyond the Clouds” has traveled through many a town in Romania. Over 10,000 people have heard the gospel. Churches, through this high energy atmosphere, have connected with thousands of families in their communities. Jesus has been lifted up and his message proclaimed.
It wasn’t but a few months ago that some of us, with nostalgia, reflected on the amazing days when the JESUS Film first was shown in Romania. Those showings created a dynamic environment that helped us connect with a large number of people. We asked the Lord to guide us to a new strategy that would produce a similar dynamic atmosphere. God pointed us to a drone, a couple of parachutes, a few really good videos, eager church volunteers, and the families of Romania. It all came together. Now, a great number of people across Romania are pondering, what does it take to go “Beyond the Clouds.”
Perhaps you would like to “see” what we are doing. The following link takes you to the city of Galati, Romania for Beyond the Clouds.
Are you interested in a great animated gospel presentation? Follow this link:
by David Ginn, National Director of Alege Viata Romania